Gutierrez begins rehab in Triple-A Tacoma

Gutierrez begins rehab in Triple-A Tacoma

Gutierrez begins rehab in Triple-A Tacoma
CHICAGO -- Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez reported to Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday to begin his Minor League rehab stint as he continues his return from a series of injuries that have sidelined him since early in Spring Training.

The plan was for him to be at designated hitter for Saturday night's game against Sacramento at Cheney Stadium, then play in center field on Sunday, according to Mariners manager Eric Wedge.

Gutierrez, 29, partially tore the pectoral muscle in his right chest during a spring workout and began the season on the disabled list. During his recovery from that injury, he began dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right heel and was unable to run for several weeks.

But the 2010 Gold Glove winner began running and hitting with the Mariners last week in Seattle, then played in extended spring training games in Arizona this week. He's now ready to begin his official Minor League rehab, which allows a maximum of 20 days before he must be recalled by the Mariners.

Wedge said Gutierrez will need all or most of those 20 days with the Rainiers, given he's missed so much time.

"He's going to need a majority of them," said Wedge. "He hasn't had that constant repetition at a higher level for a long time. He's going to need some time down there."

Gutierrez played only 92 games in 2011 after missing the first few months with a digestive issue and the last month with a strained oblique muscle.